President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the recent attack on travellers in Plateau state.
At least 22 people were confirmed dead, while 14 others sustained injuries when suspected hoodlums attacked buses conveying worshippers who are on their way to Ondo State.
The commuters were on their way from Bauchi where they had attended an Islamic programme.
Twelve suspects are currently in the custody of the military, and are undergoing interrogation over the attack.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Buhari described the attack as a “wicked” assault, adding that efforts must go towards ensuring that the victims get justice quickly.
“The Presidency condemns the attack earlier Saturday on travellers from a religious event in Bauchi, passing through Jos, the Plateau State capital and regrets the reported deaths of at least twenty-two persons with several others injured in that ambush on their travelling party.
“It is widely known that Plateau State has been one of the states affected by herder-farmer clashes, which have, in a significant way, been curtailed following the intense peace-building efforts of the administration of Governor Simon Lalong.
“However, to be clear, this is not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – but rather a direct, brazen and wickedly motivated attack on members of a community exercising their rights to travel freely and to follow the faith of their choosing.
“With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers not an opportunist ambush.
“The Presidency offers condolences to the families of the victims and continues to liaise closely with the local authorities – including security, the police, and governmental agencies. These kinds of attacks on our country’s citizens are unacceptable, heinous, and stand in complete contradiction to the teachings of the great religions of our nation.
“The Presidency stands steadfast with both Christians and Muslims at this time in condemnation of this latest attack and expects and insists that justice is swiftly – but fairly – delivered to the perpetrators,” Shehu said.
According to Shehu, the president has also ordered security agencies to ensure that all those involved in the attack are arrested.
“Make no mistake about it: in line with my commitment to protect all Nigerians, I have ordered our security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of this gruesome massacre of innocent travellers and bring them to justice,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
He, however, commended the ongoing efforts by the Governors of Plateau, Bauchi, and Ondo States; the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar III, and Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, as well as a number of notable Christian and Muslim leaders as they intensify efforts to calm down the situation.